Good planning as a basis
Preparing plans for recreational use of state-owned land is an important part of Metsähallitus' work. Using the areas for a wide range of recreational purposes is taken into consideration in the plans prepared for nature reserves and multiple-use forests.
Metsähallitus uses the hunting and fishing data extracted from visitor surveys and permit statistics in the planning process. When preparing the plans, Metsähallitus also considers the direct feedback from customers and the feedback provided by stakeholders at public events and in surveys.
National Parks Finland is responsible for the recreational infrastructure in nature reserves and hiking areas (such as trails, hiking facilities, signposting and buildings). The forest road network, which is important for the recreational use of multiple-use forests, is maintained by Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd.
More visitors to national parks
There were further increases in the number of visitors to national parks and other important sites in 2017. This was partially the result of the Nature Days and the extensive information campaigns accompanying them as well as closer cooperation with the tourist sector. Between January and December, there were 3.1 million visits to the national parks, which was 10 per cent more than in 2016. The main factor behind the increase was the Hossa National Park, which was opened in the year when Finland celebrated the centenary of its independence. The area attracted twice as many visitors as in 2016.
The revenue and employment impacts of the visitors to national parks, state-owned hiking areas and other popular nature reserves and hiking areas totalled EUR 258 million and 2,582 person-years in 2017. The visitors brought EUR 27.6 million to the areas adjacent to nature reserves and hiking areas, which was 15 per cent more than in 2016.
In terms of local economic impact, the most important national parks in 2017 were the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park (EUR 61.5 million), Urho Kekkonen National Park (EUR 36.6 million), Koli National Park (EUR 21.5 million), Oulanka National Park (EUR 18.8 million), and the Pyhä-Luosto National Park (EUR 13.3 million).
Fishing and hunting visitors also had a significant impact on the regional economy, and in this respect, eastern and northern parts of Finland were the biggest beneficiaries. The revenue and employment impact of wilderness visitors totalled nearly EUR 43 million and 261 person-years.
Wilderness permits sold and fisheries management fees in 2017
Forest road network important to recreational visitors
Renovation backlog in national parks and historical sites a concern
Photo: Laura Johansson